The best young riders in the country gathered at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show this weekend to compete during the 2012 Randolph College/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships.
|Abigail McArdle and Cosma 20 (Al Cook photo)|
Leading the way was 18-year-old Abigail McArdle of Barrington, IL, who helped Zone Five capture the USEF Prix de States Team Championship and later went on to earn the Individual Junior Jumper Reserve Championship aboard Cosma 20.
McArdle and Cosma 20 kicked the weekend off right with a clear first round on Thursday night, finishing in second place just shy of the leading time. Friday night highlighted the USEF Prix de States Team Championship. McArdle’s Zone Five Team members included Kalvin Dobbs of Carmel, IN riding Winde; Lillie Ross of Wheaton, IL aboard Pako; and Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL on Wetter.
After the first round the team had 12 faults to their name, and all of the pressure came down on McArdle. As the anchor rider, she needed to lay down a clear round during the second phase to take the gold.
Pressure is no stranger to McArdle, who laid down five clear rounds to win the NAJYRC Junior Show Jumping Gold Medal in July, and also led Zone Five to the Team Silver Medal. Once again she and Cosma 20 rose to the challenge and managed to leave each rail in the cup, vaulting Zone Five to the top of the podium for the Gold Medal.
“I had never shown Cosma indoors before, but after doing so well the first day the team decided to have me ride in the anchor position,” explained McArdle. “It was a lot of pressure, but it was good pressure because it’s always an honor to ride as the anchor for your team. Knowing that I had to put in a clear round to secure the gold medal was a very exciting moment.”
On Saturday night, the Individual Junior Jumper Championship continued. McArdle was ranked second going into the event and needed to go clean to hold on to her position. Cosma 20 was brilliant again and never touched a jump, helping McArdle garner the Reserve Championship.
“It’s a great competition and I think I really rode my best,” expressed McArdle. “I couldn’t be happier with Cosma’s performances this weekend. A lot of horses get backed off or spooky inside and she really proved that once again at a different venue she’s able to perform with confidence.”
McArdle will now prepare for the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show, where she will be competing in the Junior Jumpers with Cosma 20 and the prestigious ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Medal Finals aboard her veteran mount Apartico.